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MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. Ukrainian government forces have violated the current ceasefire in the country’s east five times over the last 24 hours, shelling territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, local defense ministry officials said on Tuesday.
"Five ceasefire violations by Ukrainian armed forces have been recorded over the past 24 hours," the Donetsk republic’s Defense Ministry said, according to a Donetsk News Agency report, noting however that the situation along the disengagement line in east Ukraine’s Donbass region "remains relatively calm".
Firing was reported in the settlement of Spartak, north of Donetsk, the ministry said, adding that territory was attacked by 120mm-caliber mortars from the direction of the Avdeevka settlement controlled by government forces.
The People’s Militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic said on Tuesday that forces loyal to Kiev had violated the truce in the region some 16 times over the last 24 hours and organized four provocations.
"Between 6.00am on September 21 and 6.00am on September 22, some 16 ceasefire violations have been registered, including nine violations during the night," LuhanskInformCenter quoted a representative of the People’s Militia as saying.
Shelling was recorded near the settlements of Kalinovka, Lozovoye and Veselogorovka, the representative said.
Various weapons are said to have been used by Kiev forces to shell the region, including small weapons, mortars and grenade launchers.
Kiev and representatives of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk agreed at talks in Minsk, Belarus, on August 26 to end shelling from September 1, the day the new school year was to begin. The ceasefire has been generally observed since then.
There has been only one crude violation of the truce when late at night on September 4, the village of Aleksandrovka, in the Petrovsk district of Donetsk, came under shelling which killed one civilian and injured two others.
Comprehensive ceasefires have been declared twice over the past year, but sporadic clashes between the two forces continued. Both sides have blamed the other for the violations.
A February 12 peace deal struck in Minsk, Belarus, by leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people’s militias starting from February 15.
This was to be followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement by at least 15 kilometers (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.
Based on September’s stillborn Minsk peace protocol, the deal also laid out a road map for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give the war-torn eastern regions more autonomy.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 6,800 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since the conflict began and the death toll continues to rise.
The UN office said in its last month’s report that overall, more than 2.3 million Ukrainians, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those who sought refuge abroad, had been uprooted by the conflict since April 2014.